Tuesday, December 19, 2006

SMU Theology School Opposes Bush Presidenshal Libary

Last month, it was announced that plans were underway for the George W. Bush Presidential Library -- an epic project of unprecedented cost, designed not to make presidential papers available to the public, but to perpetuate a heroic (in other words, false) legacy for the idiot monster. The New York Daily News reported that the Bush library would cost a half billion dollars, or double what Bush raised for his 2004 campaign.

The Bush library is to be located at Southern Methodist University, and will include a right-wing think tank modeled on the Hoover Institution. The group's role will be to recruit conservative academics and historians, and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," an insider told the Daily News in November. "The more you have, the more influence you can exert" on history. Among the potential "mega-donors" are "wealthy heiresses, Arab nations, and captains of industry."

At the time, I wrote:

"Compared to the subversion of our Constitution, the increased vulnerability to disaster, and the criminal slaughter of hundreds of thousands, it doesn't seem like that big a deal. But still, it's been there, in the back of our minds, ever since the moment a malicious nitwit named George W. Bush stole the American presidency. Some day, we realized, this asshole is going to have a Presidential Library."

"The George W. Bush Presidenshal Libary," NERO FIDDLED 11/27/06

Now, there is serious opposition to the library from SMU itself. Texas Monthly senior executive editor Paul Burka has obtained a copy of a December 16 letter "from 'Faculty, Administrators, & Staff' of the Perkins School of Theology to R. Gerald Turner, president of the Board of Trustees," which is "now circulating not only on the SMU campus but also among a wider academic community, urging the board to 'reconsider and to rescind SMU's pursuit of the presidential library.'"

Burka's blog has the following excerpts:

"We count ourselves among those who would regret to see SMU enshrine attitudes and actions widely deemed as ethically egregious: degradation of habeas corpus, outright denial of global warming, flagrant disregard for international treaties, alienation of long-term U.S. allies, environmental predation, shameful disrespect for gay persons and their rights, a pre-emptive war based on false and misleading premises, and a host of other erosions of respect for the global human community and for this good Earth on which our flourishing depends.

"[T]hese violations are antithetical to the teaching, scholarship, and ethical thinking that best represents Southern Methodist University.

"Another matter that warrants our attention is that whether it aims to or not SMU will, in the long run, financially profit on the backs of hard-working Americans who feel squashed by policies they've now rejected at the polls. Surely it's not the case that SMU will allow itself to benefit financially from a name and legacy that globally is associated with suffering, death, and political 'bad faith.' Taken together, all these issues set decision-making about the Library in a framework of inescapable ethical questions, and remind us of a key imperative adopted by many leading universities around the globe: 'to be critic and conscience of society.'"

Burka writes:

"The model for a presidential library is the one right here in Austin. To Lyndon Johnson's credit, he wanted the library to be a place where, as he said at the dedication in 1971, history could be seen 'with the bark off.' Unlike other presidential libraries -- Nixon's and Kennedy's come to mind -- there is no history here of the library administration treating historians it regards as unfavorable to the president differently from historians who are favorable. Ironically, the LBJ library has probably done more to advance the reputation of its subject more than any other presidential library -- not by design, but simply by releasing his telephone tapes into the public sphere. That's the way history is supposed to work."

IN OTHER NEWS:

Violence in Iraq is at an all-time high; approval for Bush's handling of Iraq is at an all-time low, and the Joint Chiefs are unanimously opposed to sending more troops.

Noah

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bush: Resolute, Even if it Kills Us All

In Saturday's interesting Washington Post article about Bush's stubbornness, many a question is posed about whether George W. will ever listen to what is being shouted into his ear by everyone else on Earth. Well, not everyone. "I just don't believe that this president, with this vice president whispering in his ear every moment, is oriented to change," administration defector Lawrence Wilkerson told the Post. "And even if he were, I don't believe his administration is capable of implementing change."

Wilkerson was once chief of staff to Colin Powell, whose supposed integrity did much to convince some that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Powell, a haunted man, now tells Bob Schieffer that "we are losing" (but "we haven't lost"), and that "I am not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad for the purposes of suppressing this communitarian violence, this civil war, will work." The Army and Marine Corps, according to Powell, are "not large enough for the kinds of missions they're being asked to perform." He even concedes that the Iraq disaster has made us "a little less safe," though he says this in reference to the thinning of military resources, not the spread of terrorism.

So it's one more respected, allegedly moderate voice, saying the same thing. And every time someone with expertise and gravitas steps forward and says this, the media refrain is, "But will Bush listen?" Saturday's Post finds Bush cheering people up at Christmas parties: "Don't worry, it's not as bad as it looks." "But he's not a fool," an anonymous friend says in the article. "He knows how bad all this is, trust me...I know he's got a lot of second thoughts about how he got there. Anybody would." Obviously, Bush is a fool, but I'm sure it's true that his public face is not the same as his private one. "There is some resignation that this is where he finds himself," the friend says. Resignation is exactly what we need.

A few months ago, Bush told conservative journalists, "I'm oftentimes asked about, 'Well, you're stubborn,' and all this. If you believe in a strategy, in Washington, D.C., you've got to stick to that strategy, see?" The president must be resolute! Regardless of what everyone else in the world (except maybe Dick Cheney) is saying! Regardless of how many people have to die!

Obviously, Bush is concerned about his legacy. The Iraq catastrophe will be inherited by the next president, who will be a convenient scapegoat for future reflections on Bush's colossal and tragic failure. He's hoping his legacy will be that he was resolute, no matter what. That George W. Bush, we'll say. We never had a president quite as resolute as he. He was so resolute, he was practically a dictator.

Noah

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ralph Piss Live Performance Debut

Right-Wing Comedian Was Terrible

Last night marked the live performance debut of Ralph Piss, an obnoxious right-wing commentator and blogger whose career I have abetted, for reasons which are not entirely clear even to me. (You can learn more about him at his website, Piss on America. Also see "About Ralph Piss," NERO FIDDLED 11/16/06.) At Mr. Piss's request, I was not present for his performance. But I saw the video, and well, he was terrible. (Piss claims it was "a huge success.") Material from last night's debut will be included in the upcoming documentary Who is Ralph Piss? In the meantime, here are some excerpts:



Noah

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Doubling Down

Those conservatives are too much! I mean, when they're not slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, they're claiming that soy products will make you gay! The right wing of this country is in disarray. They put all their eggs in one basket, and George W. Bush makes a lousy basket.

The unsurprising announcement that no new Iraq strategy will be announced until after January 1 has gone down in flames -- partly because the Pentagon wants to send more troops. The Pentagon describes this strategy -- I'm not kidding -- as "doubling down."

'Cause if we put the word "down" in it, people won't notice the word "doubling." If you're not really listening, it might sound like we're ending the war and brining the troops home. It'll be great as long as nobody is paying attention.

Bush supposedly "has decided the general direction he wants to take U.S. policy on Iraq," but his administration is "locked in internal debates on several fronts about how to proceed."

John McCain supports "doubling down." He supports the war, and contends that the reason it's become such a mess is that not enough troops were sent in the first place. As a presidential candidate, McCain can probably sell that notion to Republicans. But what makes McCain seem so formidable, as a candidate, is that Democrats and moderates have always respected him -- and that respect has by now eroded into nothing. His support for the war, and his desire to send more troops, are now liabilities. But more than that, his efforts to woo social conservatives and evangelical fanatics haven't been working. The social conservatives and evangelical fanatics are rallying around Sam Brownback, and McCain has ceded the center.

Mitt Romney, another Republican who would like to be president, has had to spend a lot of time lately reassuring the base that he hates gay people. In 1994, when he was challenging Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat, Romney wrote, in a letter to the Log Cabin Republicans: "I am more convinced than ever before that as we seek to establish full equality for America’s gays and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent." He committed what is a serious crime in social conservative circles -- the crime of tolerance. And now he has to answer for it. "I am concerned," Free Congress Foundation's Paul Weyrich told the Boston Herald, "and I do think he needs to explain this, because he either is or isn't in favor of the homosexual agenda and we need to know before we would get involved in his candidacy."

And Romney's gay rights backpedaling is nothing compared to the 180 Rudolph Giuliani would have to pull off, to become a viable presidential nominee in the eyes of the right-wing base.

What do you call it when a prospective Republican presidential candidate disavows past statements, in order to make himself look like more of an extremist?

Doubling down.

Noah

Monday, December 11, 2006

Emotional Baggage

Last month there was a story about one Cynthia Hoag of Dansville, New York -- a Republican and a former Army reservist. She was at the Greater Rochester International Airport, when, in the words of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, "she saw a soldier's flag-draped casket put into a cart with passengers' baggage last month at the airport, shocking her and other onlookers." "Officials" denied the story. Northwest Airlines released a reassuring statement, making clear that "all Northwest employees have the deepest respect for the sacrifices that members of the Armed Service have made, and work diligently to see that they and their families are shown the respect, care and compassion they so richly deserve." Eventually, the Pentagon released a statement promising that "at no time were the soldier's remains moved with other luggage or baggage." It reminded me of a similar story around this time last year, and of one of Ted Rall's most brilliant and disturbing cartoons:



Noah

Obama, Clinton, and Ralph Piss

Barack Obama is said to be inching toward a presidential run -- and if the media's storyline is accurate, that may be why Hillary Clinton says she won't decide until after the first of the year.

Lots of people are saying they just don't think America is ready to elect a black president or a female president. I don't think that's a valid point. This is to say nothing of the general electability of Obama or Clinton specifically. But in all likelihood, the 2008 presidential election will be very close, another 51-to-49, no matter who the candidates are. Anyone who's not ready for a black or female president is going to vote Republican anyway.

As we've said before, it was a little scary watching Hillary Clinton march unfettered toward the nomination for all those months. I've always liked her; my only real problem with her is recent -- her cloying, insincere rightward drift. She might be a good president, I don't know. But she is (all together now) a polarizing figure, possible anathema to centrists, etc.

Then there's Obama. He's more exciting and dynamic, and the far right hasn't had fifteen years to build a groundswell of hate toward him. The biggest problem with his possible candidacy might not be the fact that he's black, but the fact that he's green. And the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama. America could elect a president named Barack Hussein Obama, but boy, are the bad right-wing jokes going to be relentless.

====================================================

And speaking of bad, relentless right-wing jokes, I regret to report that the obnoxious conservative zealot known as Ralph Piss is about to make his live performance debut, in an attempt to prove that Republicans can be funny on purpose. Mr. Piss will deliver a twenty-minute set, which will be filmed for an upcoming documentary called Who is Ralph Piss? Following his performance, audience members will be interviewed for possible inclusion in the documentary.

He performs this Wednesday night, December 13. He says that seating is limited, because they're "filled to the gills with V.I.P.s," but if you're going to be in New York City on Wednesday night and you're interested in attending, you can e-mail Ralph Piss to make a reservation.

Ralph Piss is a right-wing fanatic who I met some time ago, and whose career I have assisted with, for reasons which are unclear even to me. If you want some background on Ralph Piss, you can follow the story on this blog, and on his blog, PISS ON AMERICA:

Ralph Piss, 11/14/06, The Height of Flip-Flopping: "Basically, a lefty blogger named Noah Diamond helped me put this website together, because he said he wanted a diversity of opinion, or some such liberal hokum. And now I read on his disgusting Dummycrat blog that he denies he has 'provided a forum for Piss.' In fact, he says he doesn't even know me. This is the absolute height of liberal elitism and flip-flopping, and it hurt..."

Noah, 11/16/06, About Ralph Piss: "Piss was persistent, and I have to say I was curious about him, so I agreed to help him get into the world of blogging. I wound up doing some simple design work for his site, too, and hosting his images and audio files. I know it seems strange that I would extend these generosities to someone whose ideas I oppose, but I thought it would be a nice thing to do, in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation. I also must say, quite frankly, that I was fascinated by this obviously psychotic personality..."

Ralph Piss, 11/17/06, Dummycrat Diamond: Ralph Piss is Right: "I realize I'm gloating, but it is just so nice to be totally vindicated. As you may know, my fellow Americans, I have had a conflict with a Dummycrat blogger named Noah Diamond. This lefty doesn't know the first thing about politics, and he definitely hates America and all that our forefathers fought and died for, but he is good with computers. So I asked him to help set up this website for me. Then, suddenly, he denied that he even knew me...But now...in a tear-soaked apology...Dummycrat Diamond has EATEN HIS WORDS, and made clear that the voice of reason and truth...[is] the Voice of Piss. 'Ralph Piss is right,' he says. Oh, mama, let's hear it again! 'RALPH PISS IS RIGHT,' HE SAYS. Sweet, sweet shame...!"

Noah, 12/1/06, Fox News Channel Plans Comedy Show: "First, Joel Surnow impressed a lot of people as the co-creator of the highly-acclaimed, nerve-wracking realtime drama 24. Then, he became known, in the words of Jon Ponder, as 'one of three guests at Rush Limbaugh's Viagra stag party.' And now he has sunk even lower. Surnow, the news says, 'is shooting two half-hour pilots of a skein he described as "The Daily Show for conservatives," due to air in primetime on Saturdays in January.' The show will be hosted by Kurt Long and Susan Yeagley. (Argash: 'I'm sorry but who?') The untitled program...will air, of course, on the Fox News Channel. So Fox now has the opportunity to do for satire what it did for news."

Ralph Piss, 12/2/06, Ralph Piss is Funny -- And Willing to Prove It: "Well, it's no surprise that the Dummycrat liberal bloggers are fit to be waterboarded. It's terrifying to them that Fox, the most trusted name in news, could become the most trusted name in comedy as well. Soon Fox will be the most trusted name in everything, and nobody will trust any other names ever again...Dummycrat Diamond is so upset, he even says that Republicans can't be funny! Well, I say HA! THAT SOUNDS LIKE A CHALLENGE!...To prove that Republicans can be funny, I, Ralph Piss, will deliver twenty minutes of sparkling right-wing wit, in person, at an undisclosed Manhattan location on the holy night of Wednesday, December 13...LEFT-WING DOMINANCE OF AMERICAN COMEDY ENDS ON DECEMBER 13!"

And that's the story so far. I don't know what's going to happen on Wednesday night, and apparently I won't know until the documentary is completed -- Mr. Piss has made it very clear that I am not invited to attend his performance, and that if I try, I will be forcibly removed from the building.

But you can attend, if you really want to. And if for some reason you're hungry for more Piss right now, he would want me to tell you that his blog includes audio recordings and right-wing jokes, and also that you can be his friend on MySpace.

Noah

The Great Tom DeLay Blog Intrigue

It's only been going on for one day. But I think the Great Tom DeLay Blog Intrigue will be remembered for a long time, at least in the blogosphere. Here's the story.

It began during more innocent, carefree times; it began yesterday. Yesterday, some of the older folks in the audience will remember, was the day former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay -- last seen being indicted on campaign money-laundering charges, resigning in disgrace, and telling people who to vote for on Dancing with the Stars -- started his very own blog.

"I have created this blog," he wrote then, "in order to provide Americans with a new meeting place...a place where conservative and traditionalist Americans might speak truth to power and to one another." He confides that he "did not fully realize the impact or potential of the blogosphere until very recently," thanks to "the fine people" at redstate.com, where he'd been invited to post some post-election ire.

The first mention of the new tomdelay.com came on Friday, from U.S. News and World Report's Paul Bedard ("Washington Whispers"). Bedard wrote that DeLay's blog would launch on Sunday -- ah, yesterday -- and would serve as a rallying cry and recruitment tool for GAIN. What is GAIN? Why, it's Tom DeLay's new "coalition," the Grassroots, Action, and Information Network! "Sources said the right-leaning Texan will give GAIN members insider information on the conservative movement and urge them to step in on key issues," Bedard wrote. "And Democrats need not apply: His site will have a way to filter them out." How that would work might boggle the mind for days.

But if you go to tomdelay.com now, it being Monday at all, you won't see DeLay's welcome post, nor will you read the one in which he called Jimmy Carter "perhaps our nation's worst President" and misspelled Apartheid. Nor will you read the hundreds of nasty, scathing, sometimes hilarious comments left on DeLay's blog, almost instantly, by people who are not registered users of redstate.com. "Early Sunday evening," Raw Story reports, "the commenting function was disabled. In addition, DeLay's three initial posts at the blog were removed, with no explanations given for the removals."

Boldly to the rescue came a blogger named James J. Risser. Risser's blogs are Fuck Bush and Judith Miller is a Cunt. I think this is his too. Risser rescued DeLay's original blog post, along with 111 choice comments, and posted it at tomdelaydotcom.blogspot.com, where it can be read to this very day. Monday.

Risser introduces his capture as "a tribute to the 75-minute period where tom delay actually received feedback from America. The experiment has now ended, but, this blog has taken a snap-shot, just for you."

DeLay's post reads like the rough draft of a bad floor speech. It's the user comments that move me. You really get a sense of how the American people feel about the former majority leader. "Nobody wants to hear from you, Tom Delay," wrote "Terry Olson." "Disappear. Suck on some dog eggs while you wait to go to prison." Also picking up on the incarceration theme, "e coli" wrote, "May your days in prison be filled with water-boarding, anal sodomy, and eye-liner. to be duke cuuningham's bitch is too good for you, you wretched little man."

Perhaps inspired by Samuel Beckett's ear for refrain, commenter "Wade F. Godot" wrote, "Tom, you are a disgusting piece of shit. Tom, you are a disgusting piece of shit. Tom, you are a disgusting piece of shit. Tom, you are a disgusting piece of shit." One of the more emotional comments was posted by "dead iraqi children," who cried, "you have killed 500,000 of us....from the grave we shout FUCK YOU TOM DELAY."

There were some surprise celebrity commenters, too -- not least of whom was Tom DeLay himself, apparently in a lighter mood than when he wrote the original post. "I like to smother myself in tapioca pudding," the former majority leader says in the comments section, "and play the bongos in front of the fireplace. Looking for S/W/M who shares same interests." Even Ann Coulter puts in a few words, directed at the other commenters: "GOD, I HATE YOU PEOPLE!!! mr delay wants a place for all those who love him and miss him to come and visit and leave notes of adoration, and, you, you LIBERAL SWINE, have ruined his opening...if i ever see any of you, i will BITE YOU IN THE NECK and poison you with my saliva."

It sure was fun, the Great Tom DeLay Blog Intrigue. But nothing lasts forever, and the past is in the past. We cannot return to yesterday, even if it just happened yesterday.

Noah

Friday, December 08, 2006

Iraq Study Group Study Guide

READ THE ENTIRE REPORT HERE

"I'm glad they got a study group together, but you know what? The test was three years ago."

Jon Stewart

"If we had had a commission like this, of heavyweights, who had spoken up so publicly and forcefully, when Lyndon Johnson was president ... the Vietnam War would have ended much earlier. The policy in Iraq is failing. The policy in the Middle East is failing. The president cannot walk away from those conclusions."

David Gergen, former adviser to presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton

TONY SNOW: Why don't you go back and read through some of these and I'll go ahead and deal with them. Go back on your notes there and give me the comments one at a time.

DAVID GREGORY: "'Stay the course' is no longer viable."

TONY SNOW: Okay, stop -- no, no, stop.

White House Press Briefing

"President Bush vowed yesterday to come up with 'a new strategy' in Iraq but expressed little enthusiasm for the central ideas of a bipartisan commission that advised him to ratchet back the U.S. military commitment in Iraq and launch an aggressive new diplomatic effort in the region.

"On the day after the congressionally chartered Iraq Study Group released its widely anticipated report, much of Washington maneuvered to pick out the parts they like and pick apart those they do not. The report's authors were greeted with skepticism on Capitol Hill, and Democratic leaders used the occasion to press Bush to change course without embracing the commission's particular recipe themselves.

"...'The American people expect us to come up with a new strategy to achieve the objective which I've been talking about,' Bush said. Yet, while the president called the Iraq Study Group's ideas 'worthy of serious study,' he seemed to dismiss the most significant ones point by point.

"...With the commission -- led by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former congressman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.) -- having advanced 79 recommendations, Bush made clear that he intends to cherry-pick some and ignore others. 'I don't think Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton expect us to accept every recommendation,' Bush said. 'I think they expect us to consider every recommendation.'

"Actually, Baker and Hamilton said on Wednesday that they do want the president to accept the commission's plan as a whole, not simply pieces of it."

The Washington Post

"'Jim Baker is always an honest broker,' says former White House Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein. 'If he can help the family and help other families, I think he really strikes a twofer.'

"It isn't the first time Baker has extended his hand to this president. Six years ago in Florida, he managed the legal strategy that delivered the White House for George W. Bush."

CBS News

TONY SNOW: But you need to understand that trying to frame it in a partisan way is actually at odds with what the Group, itself, says it wanted to do. And so you may try to do whatever you want in terms of rejection, that's not the way they view it.

DAVID GREGORY: I just want to be clear. Are you suggesting that I'm trying to frame this in a partisan way?

TONY SNOW: Yes.

DAVID GREGORY: You are? Based on the fact that --

TONY SNOW: Because --

DAVID GREGORY: Wait a minute, wait a second. Based on quoting the report and the Chairman, and I'm asking you a straight question, which you're not answering straight, you're actually --

TONY SNOW: No, I am --

DAVID GREGORY: -- you're trying to answer it by --

TONY SNOW: No, here's the --

DAVID GREGORY: -- nitpicking it.

TONY SNOW: No.

DAVID GREGORY: You're suggesting that by quoting the report, I'm trying to make a partisan argument?

TONY SNOW: Let me put it this way. Where in the report -- what you have said is, can you read this as anything other than a repudiation of policy. And the answer is, I can.

White House Press Briefing

"I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal."

Senator Gordon Smith (R-Oregon)

"Americans see no easy exit from Iraq: Just 9 percent expect the war to end in clear-cut victory, compared with 87 percent who expect some sort of compromise settlement, according to the latest AP-Ipsos poll...Dissatisfaction with President Bush's handling of Iraq has climbed to an all-time high of 71 percent, according to the AP-Ipsos survey."

Associated Press

"SURRENDER MONKEYS -- Iraq panel urges U.S. to give up -- IRAQ 'APPEASE' SQUEEZE ON W. -- PANEL KISSES UP TO IRAN & SYRIA -- PLAN WOULD PULL TROOPS OUT IN '08 -- The Iraq Study Group report delivered to President Bush yesterday contains 79 separate recommendations - but not one that explains how American forces can defeat the terrorist insurgents, only ways to bring the troops home....Declaring the situation 'grave and deteriorating,' the high-powered commission proposed the United States talk directly to terror abettors Iran and Syria to get their cooperation, and commit to removing U.S. combat troops in early 2008."

New York Post

"The military recommendations issued yesterday by the Iraq Study Group are based more on hope than history and run counter to assessments made by some of its own military advisers. Ever since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States has struggled in vain to tamp down the violence in Iraq and to build up the capacity of Iraq’s security forces. Now the study group is positing that the United States can accomplish in little more than one year what it has failed to carry out in three."

The New York Times


Noah

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Democrats Promise a Longer Work Week for Congress

Republicans Not Very Happy

Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that members of Congress "should expect longer hours than the brief week they have grown accustomed to."

How brief has the week been, for the 109th Congress? The Post says that this year, the legislative week has generally begun late on Tuesday, and ended Thursday afternoon -- "and that was during the relatively few weeks the House wasn't in recess." This year, Congress wasn't even around long enough to approve basic spending bills. When the 109th Congress ends its term tomorrow, its members will have worked only 103 days. (The famously inert "Do-Nothing Congress" worked 110 days in 1948.)

"I have bad news for you," said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) to reporters yesterday. "Those trips you had planned in January, forget 'em. We will be working almost every day in January, starting with the 4th." The news did not go over well. "I know, it's awful, isn't it?" Hoyer joked. He'll be the House Majority Leader when the 110th Congress convenes, and he promises that votes will be held each week by 6:30 pm on Monday, and the week will continue until 2:00 pm on Friday: "We are going to meet sufficient times, so the committees can do their jobs on behalf of the American people."

Most Democrats are "game," according to the Post, but some Republicans sure are annoyed. Not only do you lose -- you also have to work harder! Congresspeople won't be able to spend quite so much time at home in their districts, which is good (because they'll spend more time governing than running for re-election) and bad (because they may more easily lose touch with the constituents they represent).

The ridiculous Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Georgia) has gotten used to a schedule which allowed him to fly home on Thursdays and return to D.C. on Tuesdays for a work week barely three days long. But he's not even making the argument that serving in Congress requires constant contact with the people who live in his district. He's making the argument that he simply prefers to stay home. "Keeping us up here eats away at families," Kingston complained. "Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families -- that's what this says."

The Democrats could care less about families! That's what Jack Kingston has to say about the prospect of an actual five-day work week, for the people who have one of the most important jobs in the country. Presumably, Rep. Kingston, you ran for office so you could do some good for people other than you and your family. You're a member of Congress. You should be spending most of your time in Washington, helping to pass legislation that will improve the lives of all families. Only a Bush Republican could actually claim that Hoyer's call for a real work week is a Democratic ploy to tear apart the families of Republican congressmen.

"When I'm here [in Washington]," Kingston added, "people call me Mr. Congressman. When I'm home, people call me 'Jack, you stupid SOB, why did you vote that way?' It keeps me grounded." I see. Well, folks, we can all do our part to help keep Rep. Kingston grounded during the grueling Monday-to-Friday schedule he is about to endure. Let's be sure to contact him while he's in D.C. and say, "Jack, you stupid SOB, why did you vote that way?" His contact information is here.

Noah

They Use it to Detect Trip Wires

This is the most entertaining sentence I've read in an Associated Press article in a long time:

"The military is reluctant to talk about the use of Silly String, saying that discussing specific tactics will tip off insurgents."

More here.